9 items from 2014
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
As if his British films weren’t evidence enough of his talent, Alfred Hitchcock made quite the impression when he came to Hollywood in 1940. His first picture in the states, Rebecca, was nominated for Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards. So was his second, Foreign Correspondent, also released in 1940. While Rebecca would ultimately win, many – then and now – consider the achievement as belonging more to producer David O. Selznick than to the director. This is not without some justification. Though Rebecca bears more than a few notably Hitchcockian touches, between the two features, Foreign Correspondent looks and feels more appropriately like Hitchcock’s previous and later works. The Criterion Collection, recently very kind to Hitchcock on Blu-ray, now gives this latter feature a suitably well-rounded treatment, with a documentary on the film’s visual effects, an »
- Jeremy Carr
Criterion adds another illustrious Alfred Hitchcock title to the collection this month with Foreign Correspondent, which followed hot on the heels of Rebecca in 1940, the beginning of the director’s American period. Though not a perfect film, it does register as one of his most unfairly overlooked films, even as it shows various signs of outside tampering as a film belonging very much to the period in which it was made. Though suffering from the effect of too many cooks in the writing kitchen, it’s a title as filled with plot twists as it is wit, as well as Hitchcock’s signature elaborate set pieces.
Opening with a dedication to the bravery of those foreign correspondents and others that risk their lives in war time, we enter into the realm of a Us newsroom where frustration is running high at the lack of actual coverage worthy news filtering in from the correspondents. »
- Nicholas Bell
Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent is exactly the kind of film that benefits from a Criterion Collection release. I don't consider this to be one of Hitch's "best", but at the same time it's got the elements that make his films fascinating, and, most importantly, entertaining. And Criterion always does a great job bringing a focus to some of Hitchcock's less discussed gems. Add to that, Foreign Correspondent carries an additional weight as a result of its place in history as a propaganda film, emphasized most in Joel McCrea's speech at the end of the film amid the bombing of London, warning those back in the U.S. just what exactly Germany was up to. The scene was added after filming had already wrapped, just over a month before the film would actually hit theaters. Following Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second American feature. Both would be nominated for »
- Brad Brevet
Cinema history has a few great double-up years: 12-month periods in which a classic filmmaker had not one but two great films. Mel Brooks may be the most notorious, releasing two of the best comedies of all time in 1974 (“Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein”) and Steven Spielberg has arguably done it a few times, inarguably in 1993 (“Jurassic Park” & “Schindler’s List”) and he would double-up again in 2002 (“Minority Report” & “Catch Me If You Can”) and 2011 (“Tintin” & “War Horse”).
One of the most-often forgotten double-up years was Alfred Hitchcock’s first year as an American filmmaker — 1940, which saw the premiere of “Rebecca” in April and “Foreign Correspondent” in August. The former has been a Criterion inductee for years and the latter joins the most important club in Blu-ray/DVD history this week in a finely-transferred and wonderfully accompanied release.
“Rebecca” has the higher historical pedigree, largely because it’s less dry »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Hitchcock’s War Face
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Foreign Correspondent is often underrated or forgotten when it comes to lists of the director’s “best” films. In fact, it was nominated for an Oscar Best Picture the same year as Rebecca (which won), and, personally, I think it’s the better movie. It’s certainly more of a “Hitchcock film” than Rebecca, as it is one of those cross-country espionage adventure-thrillers along the lines of The 39 Steps, Saboteur, and North by Northwest.
It was the director’s second Hollywood movie. Although Hitchcock was contracted to David O. Selznick (who produced Rebecca), Hitch’s deal allowed Selznick to “farm out” the director to other studios and producers, for a piece of Hitchcock’s salary, of course. In this case, Foreign Correspondent was produced by Walter Wanger (who had also produced John Ford’s Stagecoach). It’s interesting that »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Pre-Code Hollywood studios spent millions transitioning their medium to sound and other new technologies that brought about major advances in photography, lighting, and set design. But there were still five million unemployed people in the United States and many more just getting by. The studios were losing money, many of them going bankrupt.
By 1930 the breadlines were longer than the ticket lines and people were slow to give up their hard earned money. They wanted to be entertained, they wanted to laugh and forget their troubles for just a while. Comedies, adventure, and musicals quickly became the most popular film genres of the time.
I. Pre-Code Action, Adventure, and Drama
Hollywood took their stories to the far corners of the earth as places like Africa, the South Pacific, and the Far East became exotic settings for movies. An island kingdom somewhere in the Pacific with strange creatures, even stranger natives, »
- Gregory Small
After 40 years, the British-born actress who conquered Hollywood and starred in TV's Murder, She Wrote is back on the West End stage. As she approaches her 90s, she's in her theatrical prime
In the play Blithe Spirit, the wildly eccentric and chaotic clairvoyant Madame Arcati, Noël Coward's most colourful creation, announces that "time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked".
No aphorism has ever applied less than this does to the actress now about to don the headscarves and bangles to play Arcati in the West End at the age of 88. Dame Angela Lansbury, ennobled earlier this month, has defied the laws of nature by becoming more theatrically prolific as her years have advanced. In 2007, she was Tony award-nominated for her role in a new Terrence McNally play, Deuce, on Broadway; in 2010, she was nominated again for a revival of Sondheim's A Little Night Music; and then, »
- Vanessa Thorpe
British actress Sarah Marshall, a Tony-nominated veteran who later appeared in memorable episodes of TV’s Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, has died. She was 80. Marshall died Saturday in Los Angeles following a long battle with cancer, her daughter-in-law, Trixie Flynn, said. Marshall was the daughter of noted British actors Herbert Marshall (The Letter, Foreign Correspondent) and Edna Best (The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir). She made her feature film debut opposite Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the adaptation of William Faulkner’s The Long, Hot Summer (1958), but her most
- Mike Barnes
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2013—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2013 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2013 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch in that perfect world we know doesn't exist but can keep dreaming of every time we go to the movies.
9 items from 2014
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